Now, about five years later, I have finally gotten around to making my own version of this classic puzzle. It's incredibly simple in its construction but it can be incredibly challenging in its execution. Truly, a fascinating brain teaser.
Altogether, the build took me about an hour including documenting time, so it's a pretty quick and simple project.
Step 1: Materials and Tools
- Wooden Board: I used pine because it's cheap and I had it on hand already. If you make yours the same way I made mine, you'll need around three feet of board.
- Dowel Rod: Available from just about anywhere for a little more than pocket change.
- A Drill
- Drill Bits: You need one drill bit that is the same diameter as the dowel rod you bought, mine was 5/16", and another one that is slightly bigger, mine was 3/8".
- A Saw: I actually used a table saw to make most of my cuts, but you could use any kind of wood saw, just know that your cuts may not be square
- A Square and/or Ruler: My square doubles as my ruler most of the time
- Wood Glue
- Wood Finish: I used polyurethane because it's easy to use and I had some on hand, but you can use tung oil, paint, various stains, and a whole host of others
Please be careful while working with sharp tools. Obviously, a saw can cut skin and a drill can pierce skin so please use caution and your brain while you are working with the tools.
Please note that you will often see the tower made with circles instead of squares. Other than aesthetic value, this has no bearing on the puzzle and squares are easier to make than circles so that's what I did.
Step 2: Cutting
Take the leftover two feet of board and cut the squares that will make up the towers. I cut mine in decreasing sizes of a half inch each time. So my largest square is 4" the next one is 3 1/2" and so forth all the way down to 1 1/2". I made six squares altogether because I've only ever figured out how to solve the puzzle with five. Once I figure it out with six, I'll probably make another piece to continue on in the challenge. You can make the puzzle with as many pieces as you like, but they are commonly made with 7-9.
Last but not least, cut your dowel rod to length. I cut mine into three sections at 7" each.
Step 3: Drilling
Take the largest wood square and place it on one end of the one foot long board, marking where it comes to. Measure and mark the halfway point between where the wood square's edge comes to and the edge of the one foot board, then repeat the process on the other side. If you cut accurately, which I did not, it should be about 2 1/2". Measure half of the width of the board and mark that as well forming a small X where the two measurements meet. Last but not least, measure and mark the halfway point of both the length and the width of the entire board, about 6" by 5" and make one more small X where those measurements meet.
After all that, you can finally drill your holes. Drill all the way through the one foot board with the 5/16" drill bit in the center of the little X's you made and with the 3/8" drill bit in the center of the big X's on the squares.